Proofing tools have come a long way in a short period of time.
Most interesting though, is the fact that manufacturers will be able to dial different lighting conditions from the same light source. In other words, it will be possible to simulate daylight, fluorescent light, incandescent light, and so on from the same bulbs in the same light booth. That option will be particularly of interest to print buyers and designers, because they’ll be able to view their proofs under a variety of conditions with one light source. Several companies are said to be currently beta testing this type of light booth or have one on the drawing board.
In addition, some companies are also now selling booths with integrated spectrophotometers to track any potential degradation or fluctuation in the viewing booths. There are also new booths out with space for up to two 30-inch LCD monitors so that shops and their clients can view a softproof, hard proof, and output sheet at the same time.
The Just Color Communicator2 is equipped with a USB communication interface that enables the software to adjust the brightness of the viewing cabinet and to match the image displayed on the monitor with that in the viewing cabinet automatically. For the first time, the image on the monitor and the printout can be compared directly under standardized light. Everything occurs automatically: The user simply puts the measuring device on the monitor and then into the viewing cabinet. The result is that a soft proof on the monitor and the proof in the viewing cabinet look exactly the same.
New inks, new gamuts
Manufacturers of inkjet printers used in proofing, mostly from HP, Epson, and Canon, have been competing fiercely to outdo one another when it comes to formulating inks that provide consistent and pure color that will not fade. These are ideal qualities for proofing inks. Part of the problem is that creating an ideal ink for proofing is not necessarily the same as creating an ink for outdoor colorfastness or long-term durability. For example, it’s critical that inks used for proofs dry as quickly as possible and have minimal color shift in the short term. In most cases, if the color shifts six months from now, it’s not a big deal. But if there is a dramatic color shift in the first few hours, that’s a major problem.